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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Big Match Preview

Coventry City vs. Leicester City
Saturday September 11, 12:30, Ricoh Arena

There's a Midlands derby to look forward to this weekend as local rivals Coventry and Leicester meet at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday lunchtime.

As well as a battle for local pride, it's a clash which sees two sides experiencing contrasting starts to the season under new managers.

Coventry have enjoyed a promising beginning to life under Aidy Boothroyd, but their opponents - now managed by Paulo Sousa - come into the match still seeking a first league win of the season.

The Sky Blues will be able to enjoy a rare moment of supremacy over their visitors therefore, as they look to maintain their 100 per cent start on home soil.

Boothroyd's men have already seen off Portsmouth and Derby at the Ricoh this term. After a disappointing eight home wins last season, they'll be hoping to improve upon that record this year.

Saturday's game will also be an opportunity to bounce back from their last game - a 3-1 loss at Millwall - which saw Coventry fall to their first defeat of the campaign.

That left them 8th in the embryonic standings. Unbelievably, if they ended the campaign in the same position it would equal their 2006 finishing place - their best since relegation from the top flight in 2001.

Leading lights in the Warwickshire outfit's team include striker Freddy Eastwood - who scored a brace on the opening day against Pompey and target man Clive Platt, recruited by Boothroyd from former club Colchester.

The new boss also brought back former favourites Lee Carsley and Gary McSheffrey during the summer - and both could be key to the fortunes of the Sky Blues over the coming months.

Keeping hold of highly rated keeper Kieren Westwood may well have been their best piece of business, though. The former Carlisle custodian has attracted the interest of Premier League teams, but remains a key figure at the back for City.

Coventry have started promisingly under Aidy Boothroyd's management

While Coventry are enjoying something of a honeymoon under their new boss, it's been a slow start to the season for Leicester and their summer appointment, Sousa.

The Portuguese, who moved to the East Midlands club from Championship rivals Swansea, has endured a similarly slow start to that he experienced in South Wales 12 months ago.

The Foxes have collected just a single point from their four matches and currently reside in the bottom three. A far cry from last season's play off campaign under Sousa's predecessor Nigel Pearson.

It could be argued they're suffering a slight hangover from their semi final loss on penalties to Cardiff, as well as finding the transition to a more patient, passing style under their new boss more difficult than they had envisaged.

Their slow start has included being beaten in both of their away games - at Crystal Palace and Burnley - to date. On both occasions Leicester shipped three goals, too.

They'll be hoping for better when they make the trip down the M69 therefore, and will have new signing, striker Martyn Waghorn, available for selection. The former Sunderland man scored 12 goals when on loan at the Walkers Stadium last season.

Other key players for the Foxes include striker Matty Fryatt and attacking midfielder Andy King - both of whom were key sources of goals last season.

The manager was frustrated in his attempts to bolster his fragile backline, however, with an offer for Ashley Williams rejected by Sousa's former club, Swansea.

That could be a problem for the away side, with Coventry sure to test their opponents at the back with a succession of high balls and set plays played into the box.

It is sure to be a game showcasing a real contrast in styles as well as being, as ever with a local derby, fiercely contested.

Form can often go out of the window in such matches, but I'm tempted to suggest this won't be such an occasion - with the home side collecting maximum spoils and the bragging rights.

Nobes' Prediction: Coventry City 2 Leicester City 1

1 comment:

  1. I think Leicester may get something out of this one as I think they are a touch unlucky to be where they are in the table. Coventry have the air of a much improved outfit but this has gotta be a draw, surely?